24 hours through the lens
September 26th, 2012
06:39 PM ET

Mash-up: Is that a squirrel in your shirt?

The CNN Daily Mash-up is a roundup of some of the most interesting, surprising, curious, poignant or significant items to appear on CNN.com in the past 24 hours. We top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs from around the world.

Oh sure, blame it on the squirrel

Homes saved from brush fire at last minute

iReporter Andy Deane was relieved to see a helicopter crew dropping water on a brush fire in Murrieta, California, on Sunday, as the fire neared homes and Calvary Chapel Bible College, which is at the bottom of the hill.

"We have 500 students that all smelled the fire. We had all the students pray at 7 p.m. for the safety of the community and firefighters. The students' parents were calling concerned we would evacuate them, but the township told us that we were safe and it was not necessary," he said.

Deane shot some dramatic video of the copter, which you can view here.

Cute animal video alert

Fond memories of Andy Williams

CNN readers were quick to share their memories of watching Andy Williams on TV or in person and listening to his music, especially during the holidays. Williams, whose biggest hit was the ubiquitous elevator song "Moon River," died of bladder cancer Tuesday night at 84.

Solex
As a late baby boomer, I remember the Andy Williams specials and shows as a kid sitting on the floor of our living room watching our console TV - the kind that had a record player and radio as well.
My dad was a HUGE fan of his and I remember nothing but good things about him and his music.
Goodbye Andy - you finally crossed over Moon River.

Jon Herman
I lived and worked in Branson for 10 years.  When I worked at the movie theater, he would rent out a theater after hours on occasion for his employees.  He was great to talk with and down to earth.  His music was legendary, and he will be missed by many.  He helped build Branson to what it is now by building his theater.  Before Moon River theater, they were all small, cramped and low-budget theaters.  He shined up the place and put a new face on the town.

Step away from the smartphone

Tech-savvy Americans are forgetting how to do nothing, it seems. Christopher Lynn, an anthropology professor at the University of Alabama, compares tapping at smartphones to smoking a cigarette.

When you're habituated to constant stimulation, when you lack it, you sort of don't know what to do with yourself. ... When we aren't used to having down time, it results in anxiety. 'Oh my God, I should be doing something.' And we reach for the smartphone. It's our omnipresent relief from that.

On the horizon: Netanyahu at U.N., latest GDP report

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday amid tensions between his country and Iran. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also will speak to the gathering.

The Commerce Department and the Bureau of Economic Analysis will provide a snapshot of the U.S. economy with the release of second-quarter gross domestic product figures at 8:30 a.m. ET.

September 27 anniversaries

Mark McGwire

1954 - "The Tonight Show" premieres, with Steve Allen as host.

1959 - Typhoon Vera hits the Japanese island of Honshu, killing almost 5,000 people.

1964 - The Warren Commission investigating the John F. Kennedy assassination releases its report, concluding that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

1998 - St. Louis Cardinals baseball player Mark McGwire hits his 70th home run, setting a Major League record.

September 27 birthdays

Meat Loaf

• Actor Wilford Brimley, 78

• Singer/reality star Meat Loaf, 65

• Baseball player Mike Schmidt, 63

• Actor Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, 62

• Singer/actor Shaun Cassidy, 54

• Singer Avril Lavigne, 28

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Filed under: CNN Daily Mash-up
September 26th, 2012
11:51 AM ET

1 dead from self-inflicted shot at junior high school in Oklahoma

A student died of a self-inflicted gun shot Wednesday morning at a junior high school in Stillwater, Oklahoma, police said.

Sherry Fletcher, a spokeswoman for the city of Stillwater, said no one else was injured in the shooting at Stillwater Junior High School.

Students at the school were moved to another location so parents could pick them up or buses could take them back home, Fletcher said in a statement.

Some schools in the area were under a temporary lockdown after the shooting.

Stillwater is about 70 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.

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U.S. delegation will not attend Ahmadinejad's U.N speech, spokeswoman says
September 26th, 2012
10:49 AM ET

U.S. delegation will not attend Ahmadinejad's U.N speech, spokeswoman says

The U.S. delegation "has decided not to attend" the speech to be delivered by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before the United Nations General Assembly, Erin Pelton, spokeswoman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, said in a statement Wednesday.

"Over the past couple of days, we've seen Mr. Ahmadinejad once again use his trip to the U.N. not to address the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people but to instead spout paranoid theories and repulsive slurs against Israel," Pelton said.

The Iranian leader's addresses to the assembly have often generated controversy in the past. The tensions over Tehran's disputed nuclear program and speculation over a possible attack on Iran by Israel offer ample material for drama this time around.

In previous years, several delegations have walked out during Ahmadinejad's speeches, which have assailed the United States and criticized countries that he said used the Holocaust as an "excuse to pay ransom to Zionists."

Five things we learned from Day One of the U.N. debate

He will be taking to the podium Wednesday, a day after President Barack Obama told the assembly that while Washington remains committed to a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program, the United States "will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and to fill energy shortages, but Western leaders believe Tehran is an aspiring armed nuclear power. U.N. inspectors have also expressed doubts about the program's aims.

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September 26th, 2012
09:40 AM ET

Rebels attack military building in Damascus

With explosives and gunfire, rebels attacked a military building in Damascus on Wednesday, the second such attack on a military facility in two days.

The government said a fight was under way to "cleanse" the terrorists from the targeted building - the office of the joint chiefs of staff - but military officials are fine.

However, Iran's state-run Press TV said one of its correspondents was killed by gunfire and its bureau chief hurt. It was unclear whether it has offices in the building or the journalists were there covering a story.

At least 21 other journalists have been killed covering the Syrian war since November, making the nation the most dangerous place in the world for journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The Free Syrian Army, a prominent armed group battling government forces, claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attack.

A day earlier, dual attacks rattled a Damascus school building used by Syrian intelligence. The new school year has not started.

The brazen assaults on military facilities in the capital city show the resilience of a rebel force that has shown no signs of slowing down despite a brutal government crackdown that has gone on for 18 months.

The government blamed the attacks on the military sites on "terrorists," a term it consistently uses to describe anti-regime fighters. It vowed to continue its "unyielding fight" to confront terrorism.

Across the nation, at least 117 people were killed in attacks Wednesday. So far, the conflict has left more than 26,000 people dead since March 2011.

–CNN's Faith Karimi contributed to this report.

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September 26th, 2012
07:39 AM ET

Wednesday's live events

President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney hold their first debate October 3 from the campus of the University of Denver.  Watch CNN.com Live for all the latest coverage from the election.

Today's programming highlights...

8:30 am ET - Romney in Ohio - GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is getting a celebrity boost while campaigning in Ohio.  First, he'll be joined by golf legend Jack Nicklaus in Westerville.  Later, TV host Mike Rowe will assist Romney at a manufacturing roundtable in Bedford Heights.

FULL POST


Filed under: Elections • On CNN.com today • Politics • United Nations
September 25th, 2012
10:28 PM ET

Chorus for regular NFL referees grows

Even the leader of the free world had time Tuesday to comment about the National Football League after Monday night’s controversial Seahawks-Packers game.

Replacement referees, standing in for regular officials who are locked in a labor dispute with the NFL, controversially ruled that a Seahawks receiver caught a game-winning touchdown pass as time expired. The referees also missed what the NFL says was a penalty against that same receiver a penalty that, had it been called, would have rendered the catch controversy moot and given the win to the Packers.

Airwaves and social media were buzzing with reaction Monday and Tuesday from NFL players, fans, and yes, President Barack Obama, who says he wants to see the regular referees get back to work.

Discussion of the call virtually took over Twitter in the United States, with the game generating more than 1 million tweets, the social media company said Tuesday. Already disappointed in missed and botched calls since replacements began working in the preseason, many fans and players called for the NFL to quickly settle the labor dispute.

NFL: Refs missed penalty, but Seahawks’ win stands

Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez told CNN that after Monday night’s 14-12 Seahawks victory over the Packers, “it’s becoming embarrassing.”

FULL POST

September 25th, 2012
08:18 PM ET

6.2-magnitude quake hits off Baja

A powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck near Mexico's Baja peninsula Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake's epicenter was 47 miles (75 kilometers) north of La Paz, Mexico, USGS said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

FULL STORY
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NFL: Refs missed penalty in controversial play, but Seattle victory stands
September 25th, 2012
06:00 PM ET

NFL: Refs missed penalty in controversial play, but Seattle victory stands

Replacement referees missed a penalty that would have rendered moot a controversy over whether a Seattle Seahawks receiver caught a game-winning touchdown pass a moment later, the National Football League said Tuesday.

The Green Bay Packers would have won the game had offensive pass interference been called against Seahawks receiver Golden Tate, but the missed penalty wasn't reviewable. So the officials' controversial on-field ruling that Tate subsequently scored a touchdown by having joint possession of the ball with a Packers defender stands.

The touchdown which over the last day has become a symbol of player and fan frustration over the NFL's replacement referees gave Seattle a 14-12 win. "The result of the game is final," the NFL said in a news release Tuesday.

Photos: Blown calls

The NFL also said that it supports a referee's decision, after he reviewed the play Monday night, that no indisputable evidence existed to overturn the on-field ruling that Tate scored.

Commentators on ESPN, which showed the "Monday Night Football" game, questioned whether Tate really caught the ball, penalty or not. The play has sparked a full-open revolt by fans and players over replacement referees, who are standing in for officials that the NFL has locked out during a labor dispute.

"Fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs," Packers guard T.J. Lang tweeted minutes after the game ended, one in a series of profanity-laced tweets accusing the referees of taking the game from his team.

Here's how the play unfolded: With seconds remaining and Seattle down 12-7, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw a deep pass into the end zone. Tate and Packers safety M.D. Jennings went up for the ball, and referees eventually ruled - after officials gave competing signals - that both possessed the ball simultaneously. Under NFL rules, simultaneous possession goes to the offense, so the officials ruled the play a touchdown for Tate with time expired.

Replays, however, showed two potential problems: First, Tate appears to shove Packers defender Sam Shields in the back while the ball is in the air, a move that normally would draw an offensive pass interference penalty. Second, the footage appears to show Jennings first having both arms wrapped around the ball while Tate had one arm on it, so simultaneous possession appears questionable. The ball eventually was pulled tight to Jennings' chest.

The referees reviewed the play, and let it stand, giving Seattle the win.

The NFL essentially said Tuesday that the Packers should have won because Tate should have been called for offensive pass interference, "which would have ended the game" with the Packers ahead.

However, a missed offensive pass interference call is not reviewable, the NFL said, so nothing could be done about that part of the play when it was reviewed by referee Wayne Elliott.

As for the ruling on the catch, the NFL said: "Eliott determined that no indisputable visual evidence existed to overturn the call on the field, and as a result, the on-field ruling of touchdown stood."

"The NFL Officiating Department reviewed the video today and supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the instant replay review," the NFL said Tuesday.

Discussion of the call virtually took over Twitter in the United States and sparked rising calls for the NFL to quickly settle its labor dispute with officials.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy declined to specifically address the call in his post-game news conference but said later that he had "never seen anything like that in all my years in football."

See the play in photos | Week 3: Photos

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers called the officiating "awful."

FULL POST

President Obama's remarks at the U.N. General Assembly
September 25th, 2012
10:53 AM ET

President Obama's remarks at the U.N. General Assembly

The following are U.S. President Barack Obama's remarks at the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Tuesday:

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen: I would like to begin today by telling you about an American named Chris Stevens.

Chris was born in a town called Grass Valley, California, the son of a lawyer and a musician. As a young man, Chris joined the Peace Corps, and taught English in Morocco, and he came to love and respect the people of North Africa and the Middle East. He would carry that commitment throughout his life. As a diplomat, he worked from Egypt to Syria; from Saudi Arabia to Libya. He was known for walking the streets of the cities where he worked – tasting the local food, meeting as many people as he could, speaking Arabic and listening with a broad smile.

Chris went to Benghazi in the early days of the Libyan revolution, arriving on a cargo ship. As America’s representative, he helped the Libyan people as they coped with violent conflict, cared for the wounded, and crafted a vision for a future in which the rights of all Libyans would be respected. And after the revolution, he supported the birth of a new democracy, as Libyans held elections and built new institutions, and began to move forward after decades of dictatorship.

Chris Stevens loved his work. He took pride in the country he served, and saw dignity in the people that he met. Two weeks ago, he travelled to Benghazi to review plans to establish a new cultural center and modernize a hospital. That’s when America’s compound came under attack. Along with three of his colleagues, Chris was killed in the city that he helped to save. He was 52 years old.

I tell you this story because Chris Stevens embodied the best of America. Like his fellow Foreign Service officers, he built bridges across oceans and cultures, and was deeply invested in the international cooperation that the United Nations represents. He acted with humility, but he also stood up for a set of principles – a belief that individuals should be free to determine their own destiny, and live with liberty, dignity, justice, and opportunity.

The attacks on the civilians in Benghazi were attacks on America. We are grateful for the assistance we received from the Libyan government and from the Libyan people. There should be no doubt that we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice. I also appreciate that in recent days, the leaders of other countries in the region – including Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen – have taken steps to secure our diplomatic facilities, and called for calm. And so have religious authorities around the globe.

But understand the attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America. They are also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded – the notion that people can resolve their differences peacefully; that diplomacy can take the place of war; that in an interdependent world, all of us have a stake in working towards greater opportunity and security for our citizens.

FULL POST


Filed under: Barack Obama • Politics
September 25th, 2012
10:22 AM ET

Obama: Slain envoy's legacy 'will live on in the lives he touched'

Editor's note: President Barack Obama addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday. You can read a live blog of his remarks below or see his remarks in full here.

[Updated at 10:51 a.m. ET] President Obama pointed to all of the Libyans who supported America and showed their love of Ambassador Chris Stevens as further hope for the world. He's bringing the speech full circle by going back to the attacks in Benghazi.

"Today I promise you this – long after these killers are brought to justice, Chris Stevens’ legacy will live on in the lives he touched. In the tens of thousands who marched against violence through the streets of Benghazi; in the Libyans who changed their Facebook photo to one of Chris; in the sign that read, simply, Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans,'" Obama said. "They should give us hope. They should remind us that so long as we work for it justice will be done; that history is on our side; and that a rising tide of liberty will never be reversed.""

[Updated at 10:50 a.m. ET] President Obama is talking about the hope he sees in the communities around the world like Jakarta, Seoul, Prague and others.

"These men, women and children of every race and every faith remind me that for every angry mob that gets shown on television, there are billions around the globe who share similar hopes and dreams. They tell us that there is a common heartbeat to humanity," he said. "So much attention in our world turns to what divides us. That’s what we see on the news, and that consumes our political debates. But when you strip that all away, people everywhere long for the freedom to determine their destiny; the dignity that comes with work; the comfort that comes from faith; and the justice that exists when governments serve their people – and not the other way around."

[Updated at 10:48 a.m. ET] President Obama says that while he has seen a lot of troubling things in recent times, he believes he has witnessed a similar amount of progress that leaves him hopeful.

"The war in Iraq is over, and our troops have come home. We have begun a transition in Afghanistan, and America and our allies will end our war on schedule in 2014," Obama said. "Al Qaeda has been weakened and Osama bin Laden is no more. Nations have come together to lock down nuclear materials, and America and Russia are reducing our arsenals. I’ve seen hard choices made – from Naypyidaw to Cairo to Abidjan – to put more power in the hands of citizens."

[Updated at 10:46 a.m. ET] President Obama is now addressing the concerns about a  nuclear Iran and the policies and ideology of leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"In Iran, we see where the path of a violent and unaccountable ideology leads. The Iranian people have a remarkable and ancient history, and many Iranians wish to enjoy peace and prosperity alongside their neighbors. But just as it restricts the rights of its own people, the Iranian government props up a dictator in Damascus and supports terrorist groups abroad," Obama said. "Time and again, it has failed to take the opportunity to demonstrate that its nuclear program is peaceful, and to meet its obligations to the United Nations."

Obama said that he would like to solve these issues with diplomacy - and it is still possible.

"But that time is not unlimited. We respect the right of nations to access peaceful nuclear power, but one of the purposes of the United Nations is to see that we harness that power for peace," Obama said. "Make no mistake: a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained."

[Updated at 10:45 a.m. ET] Obama is now talking about the conflict in Syria.

"The future must not belong to a dictator who massacres his people. If there is a cause that cries out for protest in the world today, it is a regime that tortures children and shoots rockets at apartment buildings," Obama said. "And we must remain engaged to assure that what began with citizens demanding their rights does not end in a cycle of sectarian violence. "

Deaths mounting in Syrian towns; children being tortured, U.N. official says 

[Updated at 10:44 a.m. ET] Obama is now addressing the peace process in Israel.

"Among Israelis and Palestinians, the future must not belong to those who turn their backs on the prospect of peace. Let us leave behind those who thrive on conflict, and those who reject the right of Israel to exist," he said. "The road is hard but the destination is clear – a secure, Jewish state of Israel; and an independent, prosperous Palestine. Understanding that such a peace must come through a just agreement between the parties, America will walk alongside all who are prepared to make that journey."

[Updated at 10:42 a.m. ET] President Obama is referencing a quote by Gandhi: "Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit."

Obama says that we must all not just condemn the recent video and slander of Islam.

"Yet to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see when the image of Jesus Christ is desecrated, churches are destroyed, or the Holocaust is denied. Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims, and Shiite pilgrims," he said.

[Updated at 10:40 a.m. ET] President Obama warned that while violence may initially be voiced against the West it will eventually spread if nothing is done.

"The same impulses toward extremism are used to justify war between Sunnis and Shia, between tribes and clans. It leads not to strength and prosperity but to chaos," Obama said. "In less than two years, we have seen largely peaceful protests bring more change to Muslim-majority countries than a decade of violence. Extremists understand this. And because they have nothing to offer to improve the lives of people, violence is their only way to stay relevant. They do not build, they only destroy."

He called on leaders and those who have protested during the Arab spring to reclaim the future.

"The future must not belong to those who target Coptic Christians in Egypt – it must be claimed by those in Tahrir Square who chanted 'Muslims, Christians, we are one.'  The future must not belong to those who bully women – it must be shaped by girls who go to school, and those who stand for a world where our daughters can live their dreams just like our sons," Obama said. "The future must not belong to those corrupt few who steal a country’s resources – it must be won by the students and entrepreneurs; workers and business owners who seek a broader prosperity for all people. Those are the men and women that America stands with; theirs is the vision we will support."

FULL POST

September 25th, 2012
07:35 AM ET

Tuesday's live events

President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney hold their first debate October 3 from the campus of the University of Denver.  Watch CNN.com Live for all the latest coverage from the election.

Today's programming highlights...

9:00 am ET - UN General Assembly debate begins - It's that time of the year where world leaders, diplomats and dignitaries gather to let a global audience know what they think about pretty much anything and everything.  It's the annual debate of the United Nations General Assembly, and President Obama will address the world body for a fourth time during the 10am ET hour.  Later speakers include the presidents of France and Afghanistan, as well as the Spanish prime minister.

FULL POST


Filed under: Elections • On CNN.com today • Politics • United Nations • World
24 hours through the lens
September 24th, 2012
05:43 PM ET

Mash-up: Ahmadinejad addresses riots

The CNN Daily Mash-up is a roundup of some of the most interesting, surprising, curious, poignant or significant items to appear on CNN.com in the past 24 hours. We top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs from around the world.

Piers Morgan interviews Iranian president

During an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad slammed an anti-Islam film that has provoked a violent reaction in the Muslim world. Ahmadinejad denounced the online film, "Innocence of Muslims," which portrays the Prophet Mohammed as a womanizer, child molester and killer. However, he also said random violence is not a good response.

[W]e condemn any type of extremism. Of course, what took place was ugly. Offending the Holy Prophet is quite ugly. This has very little or nothing to do with freedom and freedom of speech. This is the weakness of and the abuse of freedom, and in many places it is a crime. It shouldn't take place, and I do hope the day will come in which politicians will not seek to offend those whom others hold holy. We also believe that this must also be resolved in a humane atmosphere, in a participatory environment, and we do not like anyone losing their lives or being killed for any reason, anywhere in the world.

Readers weigh in on Ahmadinejad

The Iranian president also talked about his country's tensions with Israel, and about homosexuality, which in 2007 he said did not exist in Iran. As always, his remarks sparked passionate responses from CNN readers, to wit:

Ethan Marsh
Ahmadinejad is obnoxious because he portrays himself as this enlightened, reasonable person who thinks everyone should just be left alone to do whatever they want in their own country. But he is as hypocritical as any other world leader, if not more so. He complains here about a world where Israel can threaten Iran over suspected nuclear ambitions, yet Iran refuses to recognize Israel as a state and has said that he wants the current Israeli political regime to cease to exist. Iran also funds and supports militants on Israel's border who have thousands of rockets aimed at Israeli population centers. The idea that Iran just wants to live in peace and security with its neighbors is a fiction. I'm not saying Israel is not militaristic as well, but at least they don't pretend they're not.

wakeup7509
I am an American, and no big supporter of Ahmadinejad; however, any U.S. and Israeli foreign policy of sanctions and pre-emptive attack based on falsified information is completely wrong. An attack on Iran only stands to endanger Israel and the Iranian people. An attack on Iran could quite easily be the catalyst for WW3 and nuclear destruction should China and Russia become involved. Only the severely brainwashed would believe that containment, and undiplomatic solutions are the best course, continuing down this path of aggression could very well lead to a major world depression once the Strait of Hormuz is threatened, and at worse resulting in death and destruction worldwide, including America.

FULL POST

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Atlanta turns to variable speed limit system to relieve highway congestion
Atlanta ranked as the 11th worst traffic city in North America, according to one study.
September 24th, 2012
02:31 PM ET

Atlanta turns to variable speed limit system to relieve highway congestion

Transportation planners in Atlanta, ranked 11th in North America for worst city traffic, are reaching into their bag of tricks for a way to control driving speeds based on real-time conditions.

The Georgia Department of Transportation will be installing new electronic variable speed limit signs along the northern half of Interstate 285. The speed limits will range between 45 mph and 65 mph, and they will fluctuate depending on traffic volume and weather conditions.

"We have been considering this legislation for about three years," said Georgia DOT Commissioner Keith Golden. "We want to give drivers a speed limit that they'll be more compliant to."

According The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the idea is to reduce stop-and-go driving and discourage frequent lane changes.

The whole system will be a relative easy project to set up, according to Golden. Work on the installation of the electronic signs is set to begin next month, and the system should be up and running by next summer.

FULL POST

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Ravens' Torrey Smith has inspiring game hours after brother's death
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith tweeted a photo of his brother who died in a motorcycle accident.
September 24th, 2012
12:00 PM ET

Ravens' Torrey Smith has inspiring game hours after brother's death

When Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith showed up Sunday night for the game against the Patriots, he had a lot more on his mind than the AFC championship rematch so many fans were waiting to see.

Smith had barely slept and wasn't even sure if he would play. He had driven home to Virginia after learning hours earlier his younger brother Tevin had been killed in a motorcycle accident. Shortly before grabbing an hour of sleep, at around 5:30 a.m., he tweeted about how much his brother meant to him.

An hour later, as tributes to his brother were pouring in, Smith posted a picture of the two of them together, saying, "I can't say a bad thing about him... proud to have him as a brother. ..."

At 4:30 p.m. Sunday, he finally made the decision he would play  in honor of his brother.

"It was tough emotionally. I didn’t know how I would hold up," Smith said after the game. "I was telling my teammates a minute ago that this is new territory for me personally. I never really had to deal with a death in the family, let alone my brother. In our family, everyone’s so tight. Just like a lot of other families. It’s part of life and, due to my teammates and my family and friends, I’ll be able to get over it.”

When Smith got to the stadium, he said he texted his mother.

"That’s when I really made my decision I was going to play," Smith told reporters at a press conference after the game. "So she was excited about it. She was like, ‘Of course, he’d want you to play.’ He’d admired me so much ... and it’s just a tough situation altogether."

Smith received words of encouragement from everyone inside the club and around the globe. On Twitter, fans shared their condolences. Inside the clubhouse, safety Ed Reed, who lost his brother in 2011, gave Smith a psalm that he hoped would help him through the tough time.

"God’s in control, and God has a plan bigger than ours. We don’t know our time, none of us. We all experience the same things, so I just told him that we’re here for him; I’m here for him," Reed said, recalling his conversation with Smith to reporters after the game.

"I can relate to him. I told him we get so caught up, like our pastor said today, in the physical and what we see. I still talk to my (late) brother to this day because I know there's much more to us than just being here. I told him that he could still have those conversations. Just know that he’s in a much better place."

FULL POST

Syrian civil war in photos
September 24th, 2012
11:53 AM ET

U.N. to spotlight Syrian civil war as bloodshed mounts daily

As diplomats from around the world converge on New York for the U.N. General Assembly this week, the Syrian civil war - and what to do about the country's embattled regime - will be high on the agenda.

Some of the main goals are "to increase pressure and to increase the isolation of the regime of al-Assad," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said. Germany holds the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council this month.

But if history repeats itself, talks about Syria at the United Nations won't necessarily amount to effective action at the world body.

Many countries decry what they say is the Syrian government's cruel, violent treatment of civilians, and some have issued sanctions against the Syrian government.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Syria • World
September 24th, 2012
11:51 AM ET

Iran blocks YouTube, Google over Mohammed video

Iran blocked YouTube and its owner Google over the weekend because of an inflammatory movie trailer about the Prophet Mohammed that has infuriated Muslims in many countries around the world.

The sites were blocked "because of public demand," Iran's semiofficial Mehr news agency said Monday.

"Google and YouTube continued to carry the film clip that insulted our people's sacred beliefs," the agency said, citing an unnamed source in Iran's Internet Authority.

Iran was responding to a 14-minute online trailer for "Innocence of Muslims," a once obscure film that mocks Mohammed as a womanizer, child molester and killer.

FULL STORY
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Cause of panda cub death still unclear
Giant Panda Mei Xiang enjoys a fruitscicle January 20, 2011 at the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo in Washington, DC.
September 24th, 2012
11:35 AM ET

Cause of panda cub death still unclear

Veterinarians at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington have ruled out the possibility that a newborn giant panda cub was crushed by its mother, but an initial necropsy on the 4-ounce cub failed to provide a clear cause of death, officials said Monday.

The cub, believed to be a female, died Sunday, just six days after its widely celebrated birth. Just the size of a stick of butter, it had not yet been named.

The necropsy - the animal version of an autopsy - revealed the cub had some potentially unusual fluid in its abdomen and its liver was discolored and had hard in spots, said Dr. Suzan Murray, the zoo's chief veterinarian.

But investigators won't know if those findings are significant until lab tests and a full necropsy report come back in two weeks, she said. The initial exam revealed no obvious cause of death, zoo officials said. The cub had nursed, the exam showed, but it was unclear how well, Murray said.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: U.S.
September 24th, 2012
07:38 AM ET

Monday's live events

President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney hold their first debate October 3 from the campus of the University of Denver.  Watch CNN.com Live for all the latest coverage from the election.

Today's programming highlights...

9:00 am ET - Clinton Global Initiative - The annual Clinton Global Initiative continues in New York with a keynote address by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on designing diplomacy for the 21st century.  President Obama and GOP rival Mitt Romney will both address the event tomorrow.

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Filed under: Elections • Hillary Clinton • On CNN.com today • Politics
Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
September 23rd, 2012
04:48 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

Here is a look at some of the stories that CNN plans to follow this week:

Pressure builds on Libyan militias

The Libyan army on Sunday issued an ultimatum giving militias 48 hours to withdraw from military compounds and property belonging to members of the former regime in the country's capital and surrounding cities, the state-run LANA news agency said.

The development is yet another indication that public and governmental pressure is building against armed groups in Libya since people from a radical Islamist group were accused of involvement in an attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi earlier this month that left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

On Friday, hundreds marched in Benghazi and took over the headquarters of Islamist militia Ansar al-Sharia, and protesters demanded an end to all security activities of armed groups operating outside the official command of the army or police.

Fighting groups that helped topple former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi have stepped in to maintain law and order after the fall of the regime, according to Frederic Wehrey, a senior associate in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. But militia members largely distrust the new government's authority, in part because of the "taint" of a link to the Gadhafi regime, Wehrey told CNN.

Obama to address Iranian nuclear issue, Mideast unrest at United Nations

U.S. President Barack Obama will likely address Iran's nuclear program the recent unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, including in Libya, when he speaks to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, according to administration officials.

He is expected to once again reject the views in a controversial anti-Islam video that is thought to have instigated the violence, one official said, while underscoring that violence is never acceptable. Regarding Iran's nuclear program, the forum of world leaders is an "opportunity for him to underscore that Iran must not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon, an official said. Western governments have suspected Iran of trying to make nuclear weapons, but Iran insists its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is one of many world leaders expected to speak at the General Assembly this week. Watch for walkouts diplomats have walked out on his U.N. speeches for three straight years, due in part to controversial comments about Israel.

Speaking of Israel, watch for the Palestinian Authority to announce at the General Assembly on Thursday an attempt to obtain nonmember observer state status at the U.N., one step up from its current status as a permanent observer. Israel objects, saying it is an attempt to get state recognition by shortcut, circumventing negotiations on critical issues.

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September 23rd, 2012
09:03 AM ET

Sunday's live events

President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney hold their first debate October 3 from the campus of the University of Denver.  Watch CNN.com Live for all the latest coverage from the election.

Today's programming highlights...

9:30 pm ET - Romney high school rally - GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney spends part of his day in Denver, Colorado, where he will address supporters at a "victory rally" at a local high school.

CNN.com Live is your home for breaking news as it happens.


Filed under: Elections • Mitt Romney • On CNN.com today • Politics
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